Finding a Rose in the Concrete: Richard Garland

June 11, 2019

In 1992, Richard Garland graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, a year after being released from the Western Penitentiary.  Since then, Garland has become a leader for Pittsburgh’s anti-violence initiative.  He is leveraging his unique lived experience to find spaces of light in the lives of gang members and transferring skills gained on the streets to positive and safe alternatives in society.   

About Garland

Richard Garland MSW is the Director of the Center for Health Equity’s Violence Prevention Initiative and Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.


Key Highlights

  • 1:28 - Garland and team’s special insight on how reduce the cycle of gun violence.
  • 2:22 - Garland leverages the 23.5 years spent behind bars in the work carried out at Pitt and beyond.
  • 3:55 - What Garland got involved with following the prison release.
  • 5:00 – Relationships really matter in this work.
  • 5:30 – Gangs are family for Garland and for so many others, and that translates to advocacy.
  • 6:20 – Showing the strengths of gang members and transferring skills learned to positive, legal roles.
  • 7:45 – Speaks about how young people are ultimately the roses in the concrete.
  • 8:50 – The challenge is to convince all levels of community that they have a stake in change.
  • 10:30 - Gentrification can rip apart the foundation of communities – the roots – and speaks to the effects.
  • 12:30 – Garland focuses on lifting up the men in the community to turn things around.
  • 13:38 – Outreach workers replacing gang members means listening. Garland speaks to this skill.
  • 14:55 – Shares how we can collectively limit the number of times gunshot victims are in the hospital.
  • 16:00 – One word to describe Garland?